What does “faint of heart” mean?

Learn about the meaning and usage of the idiom 'faint of heart,' describing someone lacking courage and easily disturbed by stressful situations. Origins and psychological perspective explored.

Understanding ‘Faint of Heart’

Definition and Meaning

The idiom “faint of heart” refers to someone who lacks the courage to face something difficult or dangerous.

It is often used to describe a person who is easily upset or disturbed by stressful situations.

The term “faint” in this context means to become weak or lose consciousness, and “heart” refers to one’s emotions or mental state.

Origins and Language Usage

The phrase “faint of heart” is an idiomatic expression that has been used in the English language for centuries.

According to the adages of Erasmus, the phrase was already in use in the 16th century.

It is believed to have originated from the Middle English word “feynt,” which means “cowardly” or “timid.” Over time, the phrase has become a common figure of speech, used to describe those who lack the courage to face difficult or dangerous situations.

Psychological Perspective

From a psychological perspective, being “faint of heart” can be seen as a symptom of anxiety or fear.

People who are easily upset or disturbed by stressful situations may be more prone to experiencing symptoms of anxiety or panic.

In some cases, being “faint of heart” may also be a sign of a medical condition, such as heart arrhythmias or blood clots.

Definition and Meaning

  • Definition: someone who lacks the courage to face something difficult or dangerous
  • Meaning: easily upset or disturbed by stressful situations
  • Synonyms: timid, cowardly, weak-willed

Origins and Language Usage

  • Origins: Middle English word “feynt,” meaning “cowardly” or “timid”
  • Language Usage: Common figure of speech used to describe those who lack courage

Psychological Perspective

  • Sign of anxiety or fear
  • May be a sign of a medical condition, such as heart arrhythmias or blood clots